Relay for Life – a Cancer Charity

By Michelle Springer

My paper will start with the history of Relay for Life and how it started up. Then talk about places that help to fundraiser money for cancer research. Also about how cancer affects people mentally and physically, and will go on to talk about all kinds of cancer.

Relay for Life is the best because it helps to try and stop the worst disease ever. There was a man named Dr. Gordy Klatt started it in the year 1985. I think he is amazing for it because over the years so much money has been raised for cancer research. Dr. Klatt wanted to make people aware of cancer. To do this he spent 24 hours running and walking at the local oval. The reason why he did it for 24 hours is because cancer never ever sleeps. It had reached many people so now every year millions of people including caregivers and survivors walk or run and stay up all night to raise money to try and help save people young and old with cancer.

What is cancer? Is when cells grow and divide without any control. Cancer can move any where in the body by using the blood or the lymph systems. It can happen to anyone and some people may think it can’t or won’t happen to them but the truth is that it can and will happen.

Life with cancer is not easy. You have so many things that you have to do. You have appointments to keep sometimes every day. I know a girl that when she had cancer she missed a lot of school. It was hard because she was sick most of the time. You spend most of your time in the hospital and its not fun. There are all support groups that people can go to to get help they have one for all people young and old. There is even a support group for the family because it is hard for everyone not just the person with cancer. It says that it is harder for children because they tend to blame themselves. If the child is bullied or teased or can’t do something they may feel like a disappointment to their family. So they turn it on themselves and may need help to understand that it isn’t their fault. Depending on how old they are they won’t understand what is happening or why it is happening. It is important to explain to the child what is going on, but it is still going to be hard for them to understand. There is no easy way to tell your family that you have cancer. But I think the easiest way to tell your family is to sit them down and tell them all at once. Be prepared for the tears, denial, the questions and much more.

There are so many kinds of cancer. You can get it different ways too. All the cancers affect people in different ways. It can make people really sick. Such as nausea, hair loss, weight loss, depression, and other things too. One type of the cancer that people are most knowledgeable on is breast cancer. Mostly women get breast cancer but men can get it too. Breast cancer statistics say that 1 in 8 women over her lifetime. For just the year 2013 there is an estimated 232,340 new cases. A man’s chance in getting breast cancer is 1 in 1,000. In the year 2000 it started to decrease. From 2002 to 2003 it decreased by 7%. One cancer that my family has had to deal with is lung cancer. This is because my grandpa had it. But he got it because he smoked. There are some ways to prevent some cancers. Like lung cancer if you don’t want to get lung cancer you can help prevent it by not smoking.

If you get cancer you will have some signs and symptoms. One sign for breast cancer is if you feel a lump in your breast. But if you check the other side and you have the same thing on that side it might just be a gland in your breast. You should get it checked out by a doctor even if you think it is nothing, because it could be something and if you find it early it could save your life. Depending on what cancer you have depends on the symptoms that you will have. But some of this are also what you could have if you got sick too. Some symptoms are fever, unexplained weight loss, pain, your skin may change color, sores that don’t heal, unusual bleeding or discharge. If you see any of these you might want to go and see your doctor because it could be the chance of life or death for you and if you have children or family they don’t want you to go through the pain all by yourself, they want to help you the whole way. As a young or old person you should take good care of yourself especially if you are young because it will help you when you get older.

Young people with can be hard because they don’t know how to deal with what they are going through. Most deaths from ages 3 to 14 is from cancer alone. About 6,600 die from cancers of bone marrow, blood cancers, and other soft tissue’s. Another 1,800 about half of them die from leukemia. Leukemia is the most common cancer in children under the age of 10. Leukemia is when millions of abnormal white blood cells that come out of the bone marrow and go into your bloodstream. It is hard for young children because they have to stay in the hospital for long periods of time and they can get really sick form the medicines they have to take.

When you get cancer you have to have a lot of medication that will make you sick but get rid of the cancer. One treatment that you can get is Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is also called chemo. Chemo is a drug that gets rid of the cancer. The problem with it is that it can get rid of the good cells too and that is not a good thing because thats what makes you sick, and gives you the side effects, this happens because it makes your immune system weak. But the good thing is that the chemo keeps the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body. Chemo is normally followed by surgery, radiation therapy, or biological therapy. Chemo helps to make the tumor smaller before surgery. Radiation is also used to shrink tumor cells and kill the cells too.

There are many places to get help with cancer. One that people are most familiar with is the American Cancer Society, is an organization that helps people with cancer. It helps you to try and cope with cancer weather you have cancer or someone close to you has cancer. they have support groups there too. It helps you to find treatments that will work for you. They let you know that you are not alone while you are going through this. It helps you to find out how to get rid of cancer and how to get through it as easy as possible. They give you lots of information that you will need to help you understand. On their website alone it gives you lots of information on anything about cancer.

Another place that people can go to is the Cancer Treatment Center of America. They also help people to get treatment and teach people how to deal with cancer. They have ways for you to learn more about cancer. There is someone on call 24/7 so you can call any time of the day to get help. On their website they have spots for you to go to learn more and more about everything.

It may seem odd but there are some foods and spices that you can eat to lower your chance of getting cancer. There are lots of different vegetables that you eat and its best if you get them fresh . A food like steamed broccoli can. Some people don’t like broccoli and I can’t say that I like broccoli raw but I will eat it steamed any day. Plus to know that it could help prevent cancer makes me want to eat more but thats not all there are many other foods that you can eat too. Berries can help too. They have antioxidants compounds that help to protect your cells and also your immune system. Plus berries are really good. If you keep a good healthy diet in general you lessen your chance of getting cancer. To find more out you can look it up online or go to a library and read a book. there are certain foods that prevent against different cancers. Berries help with skin, bladder, lung, breast, cancer and esophageal. Eating healthy is very good for general life but to know that it can prevent you from getting cancer is even better. Lots of foods you can find recipes online or in cookbooks and find how to make good food that you will like to eat. Most food gets the thing they need from the sun and if grown right you will have loads of good food. But depending on where you live some foods can be hard to grow so you can go to your local grocery store to get fresh food too. Grapes are also good but its not the in side it is the outside the skin. It has a chemical called resveratrol. That keeps the cells from growing out of control. You can also drink red wine BUT, you have to be careful because the alcohol in it if you get to much could have a negative effect on you.

How can you stay healthy to try and prevent cancer? If you can find good ways to stay healthy such as keeping away from smoking or any type of tobacco. If you smoke you can get lung cancer and in order to live you need your lungs but you can also get 2nd hand smoke and that can be worse than if you just smoke. If you use tobacco it starts to make your mouth rot, and that’s gross just on it’s own. But when you add on that you could get cancer it adds on to all the pain. When the sun is out it feels amazing but be warned that you won’t be feeling amazing if you get skin cancer from the suns powerful rays. According to a prevent cancer website “over one million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year”. I think that people need to take more care of their skin because they have more skin than anything so they need to keep it safe and not kill their skin. “As many as 70% of known causes of cancers are avoidable and related to lifestyle,” says Thomas A. Sellers, PhD. There are many things you can do to keep healthy like eating your greens, exercise, wash your food before eating it to get rid of anything that might have gotten on your food that’s not good for you. Eat nuts they have things in them that are good for you to eat. Other things you can do is to keep a healthy weight because it makes it easier to stay active. Try to stay immunized because every time you get sick it weakens your immune system. If you have cancer it is very important to stay healthy because with the medication you take it weakens your immune system which makes it harder to fight infections even if it’s just a little cold.

There are places where doctors sit in a lab and try to find cures for the cancer and more ways to stop it. They go through and try to find out why cancer is in people, how can we stop this and how people can change our ways to keep us safe. The Center for Cancer Research is now looking at obesity being one more cause of breast cancer. It is from a protein called “c-terminal binding protein (CtBP)”. They are always trying to find new treatments for cancer and ways to prevent it. They are also finding more ways to cure liver cancer, one way you can prevent liver cancer is to not drink a lot of alcohol because it has big effect on your body. A little bit every once in a while isn’t bad. If you get cancer you might have to get surgery to remove any tumors that you might have. There are more than 100 different types of drugs for cancer. If you want to know more about drugs that help with cancer you can go to

. Relay for life is one type of fundraiser that people do and have fun while doing it. there are also 10k and 5ks that you can run. A Florida team started a fundraiser called “Keep The Ball in Motion Rally and Give Back.” High School student Teah Flynn. “I encourage all of my fellow USPTA pros and pros everywhere to participate in Tennis Relay Event on February 8,” said Nate Griffin, USPA member and director of tennis at River Strand Golf and Country Club. It only takes one person to get more people started and after you get the word out and what it is and what it is for people will want to come and help out because no one likes cancer.

New studies show that in 2014 1,665,540 new cancer cases and 585,720 cancer deaths in the United States and thats a lot. There will be about 1,600 deaths per day. In men alone

with prostate, lung, and colon will be half of the deaths. With just breast cancer 29% will be new cases. In 2006 the risk of getting lung cancer was:

  • 0.2% for men who never smoked (0.4% for women)
  • 5.5% for male former smokers (2.6% in women)
  • 15.9% for current male smokers (9.5% for women)
  • 24.4% for male “heavy smokers” defined as smoking more than 5 cigarettes per day (18.5% for women), so the more you smoke the bigger risk you have of getting cancer.
  • Men are more likely to get lung cancer than women are because men are at 17.2% and women are at 11.6% who smoke. Men who don’t smoke are 1.3% and women are 1.4 %. The younger you are when you start smoking the more likely you are to get cancer, it also depends on how many packs you smoke per. year. So the bottom line is if you want to try and help you not to get lung cancer, “DON’T SMOKE!” Now for breast cancer. Women are more likely to get breast cancer than men are. U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics say that About 1 in 8 U.S. women (just under 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Other than lung cancer breast is the one cancer that people die from the most. THe U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics say “White women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than African-American women. However, in women under 45, breast cancer is more common in African-American women than white women. Overall, African-American women are more likely to die of breast cancer. Asian, Hispanic, and Native-American women have a lower risk of developing and dying from breast cancer.” Colon cancer has more to do with age more than any other cancer and the older you get the more likely you are to get colon cancer. In a colon cancer age diagnosis are:
  • 0.0 percent were diagnosed under age 20
  • 0.9 percent between 20 and 34
  • 3.5 percent between 35 and 44
  • 10.9 percent between 45 and 54
  • 17.6 percent between 55 and 64
  • 25.9 percent between 65 and 74
  • 28.8 percent between 75 and 84
  • 12.3 percent 85+ years of age.

The mortality rates are:

  • 0.0 percent died under age 20
  • 0.6 percent between 20 and 34
  • 2.4 percent between 35 and 44
  • 7.7 percent between 45 and 54
  • 14.3 percent between 55 and 64
  • 23.9 percent between 65 and 74
  • 31.1 percent between 75 and 84
  • 20.0 percent 85+ years of age.

One thing that keeps people going and wanting to help and do fundraising are the survivors. This is because as long as there are survivors then there is still hope. Every person who has had cancer is the best fighter ever because fighting a sickness a hard work. A survivors worst fear is the cancer coming back. If it comes back they have to go though the fight again. They always need someone to be with them to help them fight because you can’t win a fight on your own and the extra person to give them lots of hope and will to fight. This is a quote by Penny Boldrey an 11month cancer survivor “ Hope is living with courage and confidence not fear.” I think every survivor has a story. Some stories are very hard but for the ones that end in happiness are amazing. Everyday that someone is declared cancer free there is another birthday saved.

The cancer survival statistics in 2007 46% of men and 56% of women would survive their cancer for at least 5 years. Depending on the person and how they keep taking care of their bodies after the cancer is gone if they had bad habits like smoking and they go right back to smoking it won’t be good for their body, it could cause their cancer to come back. Plus if you spend about 5$ a pack on cigarettes you are wasting money that could go to keeping your body healthy. With breast, bowel, and lung cancer there is a 51% of cancer survival rate. All of them separately is breast- 85%, bowel-54%, and lung-8%. Lung cancer is hard because you can’t just remove your lungs like you can your breast. I think all survival rates are positive because the people who are saved could be a mother, father, brother, sister, or other family and the whole family fights with that person so it is so hard.

The main person who helps someone when they are fighting cancer is their caregiver. This person devotes their time in helping the one who is sick. They go through hard times with the person and fight just as hard for the person who has cancer. They have many jobs that they do too..Depending on what type and what stage the person is on depends on what you will be doing. You will take some to back and forth to doctor appointments and get medics for them. Make food for them clean their house for them and lots of other stuff. Some cancer patients have a family member to help them, others have more than one helper. They may even take care of children if they are too ill to care for them and they help with a smile and have feeling for the people and what they are going through. When working with a cancer patient you have to be calm because thy will get slower and have mood changes can be quick to change. Caregivers can improve their skills by working with various people and different cancers, you can also work with children which is really hard because they are so young and have barely lived their life. If it wasn’t for caregivers people with cancer would have to fight on their own and no one would like to do that because as the cancer goes on it gets harder to do everyday things, and this is a fight that I would never want to go through all alone.

Cancer ribbons are all different colors for every kind of cancer. The most common ribbon you see is the pink one and that is for breast cancer. If you see a clear, pearl or white ribbon that is for lung cancer. The color for all cancers is lavender. They even have have a color for caregivers which is plum. These ribbons mean a lot for some people because they give people hope.

With relay for life we live by 3 big words “REMEMBER, CELEBRATE, FIGHT BACK.” We want people to live their lives and not have to worry about cancer. We want more birthdays every year and for all the years to come. As long as cancer is around we will be up once a year for 24 hours fighting back, celebrating, and remembering everyone who has had, or going to have cancer. As long as I can I will be up those nights to because I for one hate cancer and want it to go away and never come back. I have known many people with cancer and I have lost people to cancer and I want it to stop because losing people is very hard. I can’t wait for Relay for Life 2014! I hope to raise more money than last year and to get more people involved which will mean more people to help fight against cancer.